Showing posts from April, 2015

Applying maths skills in real life situations!

My favourite way to use iPad in maths at the minute is to provide real life situations for them to apply their maths knowledge.

I have previously blogged about this here and here. Gareth Metcalfe's brilliant resources First Class Maths and The Maths Apprenticeship are great examples of this too.

One of the best apps for this is Motion Math Pizza! A favourite with children as they have to run and manage their own pizza shop! Without knowing it, children are using their math knowledge in different ways in an engaging and purposeful manner. 

Motion Math have recently released a new app - Cupcakes, which after using today is just as good if not better that Pizza!

What I love about Cupcakes is that it works on different aspects of maths including two and three step word problems, co-ordinates, fractions and much much more! There is so much engaging content to hook children and again is a great example of Camouflage Learning! 
Although both these apps focus mainly on numeracy, there are…

A taste of things to come!

It has been amazing to see the success of my first book '50+ iPad lessons for Exciting Sentences,' co-written with Alan Peat.

Thank you so much for the support with this and the positive feedback. It is great to see the ideas being used to great effect!
We are now working hard on our next few releases, with two books currently being edited, we are in the process of writing a book focusing on using iPads to improve writing fiction. I wanted to share a sneak preview of just one idea from this book. 

And this is what we have created - 

Now if you cannot wait for the books to find out how to do this, there are still plenty of courses I am running between now and the end of the year for you to book on. Details of every conference and course can be found HERE!

Turning 30!

Warning - This blog post has no ideas for use in the classroom!

Tomorrow, I turn 30. I don't know why, but I felt compelled to write about it! I am not dreading turning the big 3-0 as many of my friends are, in fact, I embrace growing older as see it as a beautiful thing, a privilege denied to many. What turning 30 has made me do is reflect, reflect on everything I have done and look at everything I want to do.

I am an extremely lucky man. I have an incredible family, wonderful wife, beautiful children and have an amazing job working as a teacher and running my own business training teachers and working with schools all over the country. I am lucky and often think I don't deserve to do it. My wife soon reminds me how hard I have worked for this. To be where I am now, I have worked incredibly hard, things have worked in my favour and I believe this happens when you strive and pursue something. That doesn't just apply to my job, working hard as a husband and father too is jus…

Authorial Intent in Teaser Trailers

The teaser trailer, it is becoming an integral part of movies and is usually the trailer for the trailer. The teaser trailer is aimed at creating a buzz with the audience and usually asks more questions than actually answering any.

So if the aim of a teaser trailer is to tease and leave the audience excited and wanting more, discuss this with children to get them thinking about how this is done.

One of the most exciting teaser trailers this year is the Star Wars Episode VII trailer. Here is the trailer -

To use this in the classroom, children may need a little background about the Star Wars films. I am not suggesting you watch them all, even though the original three should be part of the curriculum but discussing the huge success, a little about the story and the huge expectation of this upcoming film. Here are some questions you could ask about why this is a great example of a teaser trailer. 
At 14 seconds, we hear a voice, ask the children whether they think this is a hero or vill…

More constrained writing... Hiding messages in writing!

Today I used the following clip to inspire some writing -

I had to edit the original clip as the man uses inappropriate language at the end.

I knew this would be a great short clip to use to build tension in children's writing. I shared the clip stopping at 10 seconds explaining that what the man is doing is wrong and clearly something you should never do, hence the reason for the barriers. At 20 seconds, I asked the children to list some adjectives to describe how the man may feel? At 30 seconds, I asked the children to suggest what would be the worst thing that could happen now? We then watched what happened.

After watching the rest of the video, I asked the children whether they thought it was real or not? This video has duped millions of people but has since been exposed as a fake. I showed the children some of the suspect elements before introducing the writing challenge. I suggested to the children that they write a first person recount as the diver, however, there would be…

SPAG revision on the iPad with Sentopiary!

Sentopiary is an app that I came across a couple of weeks ago and is a fantastic way to support and challenge children with their understanding of grammar.

The app has two modes to play - a free 'create' mode that allows children to simply build sentences by using a grammar-based tree structure.

The challenge mode tests children's understanding of different word types by identifying them in a sentence. There are 4 levels of difficulty covering different terms and tenses.

Level 1: Students build sentences with articles, nouns, pronouns and verbs in the present tense.

Level 2: Students expand their sentences with adjectives, direct objects, and past and future verb tenses.

Level 3: Students add prepositional phrases to both noun phrases and verb phrases.

Level 4: Students build sentences that incorporate adverbs and progressive verb tenses.

This is an app I have been looking out for! A fantastic interactive way to practise some SPAG! This app has been a welcome break for our…

Simple inference and deduction using WeeMee!

Teaching higher order reading skills such as deduction or inference doesn't have to be done only through text. Simply browse The Literacy Shed to see how animations and short films can aid children in thinking beyond the literal!

Still images can be just as useful to get children answering questions and justifying their answers with evidence and clues from the picture. 
Weemee is a website and an app that allows children or teachers to easily design their own avatars. 
They can design every aspect of the face, choose an outfit, change hairstyle, add different objects or hobbies and place the avatar in different scenes.
Teachers can use this tool to create characters and pose questions where children will need to answer giving evidence from the picture.  

Here are a few examples - 
Is this character old or young? 
What is his job?
Do you think he enjoys his job?
Can you think of a word to describe how he feels? 
Why do you think this?
What are his hobbies?
What might have happened …